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Nine-month press fight to name paedophile is finally won

Newspapers in south London are hailing victory after a campaign to name a convicted paedophile.

The defendant admitted 20 charges of making and possessing indecent images of children at Croydon Crown Court, last April.

However, Judge Warwick McKinnon ordered that he could remain anonymous to protect his two daughters who the judge claimed would be seriously affected by the publicity.

Freelance court reporter Bill Bailey asked for a reporting restriction banning publication of the defendant’s name to be lifted.

The legal fight started after the April hearing but earlier today a senior judge finally ordered that it could be removed.

The lengthy legal battle has involved both the Croydon Guardian and Croydon Advertiser as well as Times Newspapers and News Group Newspapers.

President of the Queen’s Bench Division, Sir Igor Judge, lifted the gag during a two-minute hearing this morning.

The High Court judgement said: “It is sad but true that the criminal activities of the parent can bring misery, shame and disadvantage to their innocent children.

“However, we accept the validity of the simple but telling proposition put by the court reporter to Judge McKinnon on April 2, 2007, that there is nothing in this case to distinguish the plight of the defendant’s children from that of a massive group of children of persons convicted of offences relating to child pornography.

“If the court were to uphold this ruling so as to protect the rights of the defendant’s children, it would be countenancing a substantial erosion of the principle of open justice to the overwhelming disadvantage of public confidence in the criminal justice system, the free reporting of criminal trials and the proper identification of those convicted and sentenced in them.

“Such an order cannot begin to be contemplated unless the circumstances are indeed properly to be described as exceptional.”

The court has since slapped a S39 order on the children, which means the defendant cannot be identified either. The lawyers are again investigating.